YAP proposal #375: Bringing More Young People into Agriculture (Muhsin Ismail, Ghana)

yam farm1‘24.2 per cent of Ghanaians live below the poverty line, 70 percent of them in the Northern, Upper Western and Upper East Regions… Here, six out of ten households farm on small plots of land (five acres or less) with production capacity barely at subsistence level.’

Source: https://www.wfp.org/countries/ghana.

My name is Muhsin Ismail, a 27-year-old man from Tamale, Ghana. I am a teacher, IT student and a new farmer.

Growing up as a child in Northern Ghana, every household farm was aimed at feeding itself. This is still the major trend of farming for most households: cultivate to feed the family. Yet the perception is that farming is meant for the uneducated.

So, in an era when there are no white-collar jobs, school-trained people remain jobless while shunning the thought of venturing into farming.

TechFarm is an initiative that aims at bringing more people into agriculture directly and indirectly. TechFarm will use crowd-funding technique to enable young people venture into agriculture without negatively affecting their main livelihoods. I already have the commitment of 14 other friends interested in participating in crowed funded farming.

The TechFarm initiative will work in two ways;

  1. Members of the crowed fund who can engage directly in agriculture will establish their farms in groups or individually.
  2. Members who will not be able to involve directly in farming will use their funds add capacity to other small-scale farmers to increase their capacities to commercial levels.

In the 2014/15 farming season, I serendipitously did a one-acre yam farm in a nearby village and ended up a 174% profit. According my calculations, diminishing returns may only set in after an estimated GHS 45,000 (USD 11,250) investment mark. But this can be extended almost infinitely if the crops are diversified.

In the 2015/16 farming season, three friends joined in as we crowd funded, this time, a three-acre farm. Returns were even better than my previous year’s experience.

In the 2016/17 year, we intend to bring in more members onboard.

With USD 5,000, participants will receive exactly the amount they are able to raise themselves for farming up to GHS 800 (USD 200) per person. Participants are free to choose the crops they wish to cultivate guided by the Soil Compatibility Map released by the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority recently.

We are 100% sure that after initial YAP funding, most participants should not need external funding except if they want a huge increment in investment.

Most of my friends are ICT savvy and we have agreed to use some of the funding to source relevant content for our existing bulk SMS platform. The platform will send timed and automated text messages to remind us of times for fertilizer applications, weedicide applications, and other agronomic activities.

The USD 5,000 will be applied in the following areas:

  1. Collate and distribute relevant agric-specific information to participating young people.
  2. Link up with public funded agricultural extension services.
  3. Purchasing of improved seedlings, yam setts and fertilizer.
  4. Minimal administrative fees for mentoring, training and monitoring.
  5. Setup pilot programmes for other agricultural activities such as livestock and poultry.

We can make greater impact by bringing together the little we all have.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Muhsin Ismail (Ghana): muhsingenius[at]gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.

 

This post is published as proposal #375 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
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Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!


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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development. 


48 thoughts on “YAP proposal #375: Bringing More Young People into Agriculture (Muhsin Ismail, Ghana)

  1. This is a good initiative idea. Agricultural should not be seen as a work for the old or poor. It is a great investment if these great ideas are taken into consideration.
    Keep it up and share more information about YAP

    1. Thanks Kenkubuga for showing interest. We use phone and email communication a lot because not all members who have signed up live in the same place. But since the farming season is fast approaching, we are planning a meeting in one of the days between 18th to 20th. Send me email: muhsingenius@gmail.com or call +233243761462 so that you can be added to our contact list.

  2. This is a great and well formidable way of increasing our profit bascket by engaging into farming. farming is not meant for the un educated. even before the white men came to africa, there wasn’t some like uneducated african but an illiterate african because they were not able to read n write. God has given us the senses to reason n react positively to issues as an african. our source of income n lively hood was farming till now, just that misunderstanding n wrong implications of technology into our farming has spontaneously disintegrate the mindset of the african man.

    YAP will integrate the proper response, purposes n usage of technology into our farming. with proper guidance of technology the committed n well behaved passion african will a good a yield.

    let’s support the gentleman in achieving a unanimous n comprehensive guidance as God has planted in him share responsibility of the african man as far as farming is concerned.

    1. Members can choose to farm anywhere they get a land. You can join and offer your land as your contribution to the fund. you may contact me via my contact above. Thank you

  3. Woooow! This is a great idea. I strongly believe with the needed support this TechFarm iniative will go a long way to curb down the increasingly graduate unemployment rate in our country.i cant wait to be a part of this well-thought initiative.

  4. Great! If TechFarm gets the need support and funding, we should be able to feed Ghana and export food to neighboring countries in the near future. thumbs up

  5. Waow!!! Am overwhelmed with such great initiative from a young man like you.. Am pretty sure the issue of unemployment will be curbed in the long run with this great idea. Thumbs up Genius!!!

  6. Wawww that’s a great initiative, l will like to know more about YAP and how can l also pablish about YAP? IA need the procedure.

    1. Thank you Hudu. You can read more about the YAP here https://blog.gfar.net/2016/02/17/calling-on-all-young-agripreneurs-submit-your-project/
      Meanwhile, if you like my idea you can contact me through my email and mobile phone number above.
      It very capital intensive to do farming in commercial scale. One person may not be able to raise that much capital but putting our resources together we can raise enough to make our own farms and also expand the capacity of small scale farmers.

  7. Woooooow dis is wonderful idea friends lets as all show interest u dis initiatives friends and also hopes the program is successful, but we also have a similar initiative with my brother Lukman Gomda who is base in Accra I no he will be happy to hear dis brilliant nice ideas. And this are our addresses gomda271@gmail.com and my brothers own is gomdatel@gmail.com

  8. This is practically not feasible.
    1. 800 cedis can not be a start up capital for a farm unless the project seeks to do backyard garden rather than farming.
    2. If individuals are free to choose their own crops, then you can not estimate the returns or profits based on the returns of your pilot project. I would rather you concentrate on the crop you tried and have experience so as to minimize risk since the project seeks to eradicate poverty.
    3. The project should be centered at a particular geographical location so maximum supervision can be attained.

    You can contact me because I will be willing to invest in the project if some of these problems are looked into.
    0246128723

    1. Thanks buddy for observation. But I would like to clarify certain things.
      1. 800 cedis would not be what will be used to establish each farm. That’s why we need we need some additional funding. Now the funding would be used to supplement the crowd fund in terms of more research, information dissemination and also farm inputs.
      2. Individuals may not chose their own crops. For this farming season, our concentration will be on yam farming. We also want to apply some funds to demonstrate other crops and also other farming areas like poultry and live stock. We want that in the future members of the program will have a lot options to invest their funds.
      We also including small scale farmers who have already demonstrated successful crops.
      3. Yes, we will try as much possible to put sites at locations that will not make supervision difficult.

  9. Wooow! This is indeed a very heartwarming initiative, because it will go a long to improve upon the lives of individuals in society as well as create employment for the youth. Kudos n may God guide you through.

  10. Woow! Very heartwarming initiative. This will not only go a long way to reduce poverty and malnutrition, but will also reduce unemployment among the youth. Kudos and all the best

  11. Fantastic idea,comrade,and a the best way out for the youth in Northern Ghana.
    May this see the light of day.

  12. Wow this is a great move to involve the youth in the agribusiness. I will be looking forward to see how you are to create linkage between water and sanitation and climate change.

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